City puts clamps on cell phone towers

OCEANSIDE — City Council unanimously approved an urgency ordinance that will put restrictions on wireless communication facilities, satellite dishes and antennas on Oct. 20.
“It’s a great first step,” Holly Hargett, telecommunications committee member, said. “It’s absolutely where they need to go. The previous guidelines were outdated 13 years.”
New guidelines pinpoint preference areas for cell phone tower placement in city-owned, industrial and commercial property before towers are put in public, open space, agricultural or residential areas. “We want them to co-locate,” Jerry Hittleman, city planner, said. “If the applicant wants to place antennas on a commercial building they must prove the need of the facility.”
While the ordinance is a step in the right direction, many residents are still concerned about present towers that loom over schools and churches that are outside of residential zones.
“I don’t want to sit in a classroom with a cell phone tower over my head,” Chris Tucker, a student at Hillside Academy, said. “The radiation causes brain cancer, plenty of doctors think so.”
“Members of my family, including my daughter, have been made quite ill by these structures,” Tom Allen, an Oceanside resident, said. “Article 39 is a sensible first step.”
To comply with current laws the ordinance cannot prohibit telecommunication services in specific areas, still residents urged council to consider potential health risks of cell phone tower radiation.
“You are the safeguard in the city,” Connie Chapman, an Oceanside resident, said. “I am a mother. I like my cell phone, but I love my family.”
The ordinance provides for cell phone towers to be set back from residential areas the height of the tower plus 10 feet, and calls for towers to be camouflaged from view.
It is also requires amateur radio antenna to be limited to 36 feet, or 10 feet above building height.
Additional recommendations were made that a monetary penalty be charged to communication facilities after conditional use permits expire, and ham radio operators pay a reduced fee for conditional use permits. “Hopefully we can look at them (additional recommendations) further down the road,” Hargett said.
There was strong objection from ham radio operators about being regulated under the same ordinance as commercial service providers.
“We’re two diverse groups being covered with one ordinance,” Dennis Parker, an Oceanside resident, said. “We’re totally diverse operations.”
“It mixes nonprofit with for-profit carriers, something’s wrong,” Fred Ashley, an Oceanside ham radio operator, said.
Because of significant public objection to inclusion of amateur radio in the ordinance, city staff will report back Jan. 5 on modifications for ham radio operator requirements.

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  1. Connie Chapman says:

    Thanks Holly & Sharon for all your hard work on this issue. You can expect our continued support – that’s what neighbors do!

  2. anonymous says:

    Thank you for everyones support concerning such an important issue. This is what real grass root efforts can do for you. Never think your alone concerning your community, you will be surprised how many out there share your thoughts of many issues. Doing something unselfish for the benefit of community as a whole is what makes our city worth living in. Passions for what you feel right may take time to blossom, but when it does the scent is sweet!

  3. KD7ZD says:

    The requirement that Ham Radio antennas be limited to 36 feet or 10 feet above buildings will not hold up under the FCC PRB-1 where the FCC preempts local laws. A little research on the city’s part will save court costs.

  4. TomInTexas says:

    Where is it proven that cell phone emissions cause brain cancer, besides maybe in the National Enquirer? Incidentally, amateur (ham) radio emissions are in the 1.8 to 450 MHz range, for the most part. Cell phones are in the 1800 MHz and above range, which is *microwave* radiation. Microwaves will heat tissue, amateur radio (HF, VHF, and UHF) does not. Politics, however, can ignore science whenever it’s convenient. Ask Galileo.

  5. KL3DL says:

    Next time there is a disaster where cell and land-line communications are cut off; you’re gonna miss not having the ham radio operators help with emergency communications. No wonder useful people flee your state. I won’t even get into the outrageous taxes.

  6. The Stig says:

    "Passions for what you feel right" make for real good science.

  7. The Stig says:

    And what about police, fire, public works, taxi, pizza delivery service, school bus, and aircraft control tower antennas and CB radio "sets" to name a few, all sending out those "dangerous rays" that make the cows go dry?
    What about the dangerous rays those wifi systems and police RADARs emit?

    Do you realize there is always leakage around microwave oven doors?

    Any BROADCAST radio or TV stations near Huff & Puff City?

    Can I get the "tinfoil in the hat" concession for this place?

  8. Use Science not B.S. says:

    Limiting height of amateur antennas GUARANTEES increased electromagnetic field density to nearby residents. Physics should dictate these numbers, not an arbitrary height. In fact the higher the better.
    Don’t believe me?
    Here is what the Federal Communications Commission says:
    http://www.arrl.org/files/file/haller.pdf (yes the letter is old but the laws of physics have not changed since then). The letter quite eloquently clarifies the issue.
    Some information about PRB1:
    http://www.arrl.org/local#local
    Your fine city is likely going to be party to legal action due to the arbitrary nature of this ordinance.
    http://www.arrl.org/precedent-setting-cases
    Holly Hargett, do you carry a cell phone? If you do, the close proximety of that cell phone to your body FAR exceeds the field from any cell tower or amateur antenna. I recommend that you try to adjust the ordinance to include phones carried on your person. How about this "…cell phones, when carried in Oceanside, cannot be carried in your pocket and must be carried with a hobo stick at least 4 feet from your person and any other person…"
    Electromagnetic fields decrease at the square of the distance. In fact, in near field, they decrease at the cube of the distance.
    A cell phone in your pocket mere millimeters away from your body is hundreds, if not thousands of times higher than any of these external antennas that you state are dangerous.
    I say to the people who are "sickened" by the cell towers two things:
    1) Prove it with science. Please cite these studies properly. Peer reviewed scientific publications are a good start.
    2) Do you carry a cell phone? If you have a cell phone in your pocket, are you going to get rid of it due to the electromagnetic fields it produces? Really… are you going to get rid of your cell phone?
    This "grass root" effort is full of hypocrisy. I could go on and on but I might confuse the "grass roots" effort with facts.

  9. anonymous says:

    “You are the safeguard in the city,” Connie Chapman, an Oceanside resident, said. “I am a mother. I like my cell phone, but I love my family.”
    Ms. Chapman, you need to get rid of your cell phone NOW!!!! Get rid of that horrible thing in your pocket now!!!
    The near field effects of you cell phone far exceed any electromagnetic effects from the towers. As a previous poster says, electromagnetic field density decreases with the square of the distance.
    You can’t have it both ways. Carrying a cell phone in your pocket is FAR MORE dangerous than a cell phone tower located feet away. Look it up in any basic physics book. This is a FACT.
    Do they teach physics in Oceanside?

  10. Jeremy H says:

    I think the city needs to get what it’s wishing for and remove any source of electromagnetic radiation.
    First the city should offer to pay all expenses to relocate any resident hams (and their families of course) to a place of their choosing, including purchasing their property at fair market value and paying the difference on the new property if any. They should provide a comparable salary to the affected people until suitable employment is found in the new home.
    Second, the city needs to shut down any existing cellular phone towers. This will ensure that not only will the towers not bother the people with radiation, but inconsiderate residents who carry phones with them won’t radiate their neighbors while walking down the road. As explained in other comments, those mobile devices are orders of magnitude more dangerous than the towers are.
    Once that is done, they’ll need to revert the police, fire, EMS, and other 2-way radio users over to using land-line phones. It will take some time to adjust, but if they install the old-fashioned police call boxes on every corner it shouldn’t be too difficult for the officers to keep in touch with their dispatchers.
    And finally one of the biggest sources of electromagnetic radiation will need to be shut down. It generates far more EM radiation at 60 Hz than all of those other sources combined. That source is the power grid. This will have a secondary effect of eliminating almost all other sources of EM radiation within the city limits as there will be no electricity to run them. And without a power source, the phone networks will not be able to run either, so that will save the city from installing or maintaining those call boxes previously mentioned.
    I know my comment seems far-fetched, but when you start down the path you have to follow it to the conclusion. If it were real concern over the EM radiation of the towers and antennas, this is where you have to go in order to eliminate as much of the "danger" as possible. Instead what this does is expose these complaints for what they really are – usage of junk science in order to get rid of the "eyesores" these few residents don’t want. Which is more likely, EM radiation from towers is causing illnesses contrary to what verifiable science says can happen, or there is a serious case of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) sindrome infecting this town. Think Occam’s Razor – The simplest explanation is the likely answer.

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